Desert Island Beers – Kieran Haslett-Moore, New Zealand
This week’s Desert Island castaway is Kieran Haslett-Moore, of Southstar Brewing, a Cuckoo brewer, who travels New Zealand sneaking in brews at other people’s breweries. Kieran has been forging a career in fermented food and drink for the last decade although his passion for beer goes much further back than that.
He says he always preferred beer to other alcohols and he discovered good beer on a holiday to Otago: for whilst riding on the Taieri Gorge Railway he came across a bottle of Emerson’s London Porter and his perception of beer changed completely. He went on to start home brewing while enthusiastically tasting as many beers as possible. After a degree in Sociology and Politics he then went on to become the cheese monger at Wellington’s, Moore Wilson’s Fresh Market. At the same time he took up beer blogging, and started to run beer and cheese tastings.
After 6 years as a cheese monger Kieran took up the position of Regional beer specialist at Wellington’s liquor retailer and distributor Regional Wines and Spirits. He also manages to find time to write regular beer columns for Capital Times in Wellington, SOBA’s Pursuit of Hoppiness and for Consumer Magazine and has judged at the BrewNZ/Brewers Guild Awards, the SOBA National Homebrew Competition and at the NZ International Beer Awards for the last 2 years.
In 2010 he was the first person to bring a recipe into the Emerson’s Brewery when Regional and Emerson’s made a collaboration brew. The resulting extra special bitter, RSB, was brewed again the following year and won a silver medal at the New Zealand Brewers Guild Awards. This year the collaboration took the form of a best bitter. Named RBB the beer took a gold medal and best in class trophy.
Kieran was also a founding member of the Society of Beer Advocates and is a long term overseas CAMRA member. He says he finds the current apparent conflict between CAMRA and proponents of English ‘craft beer’ curious and a little saddening. He also regularly presents beer tastings and still specialises in beer and cheese tastings, which are in his opinion two perfectly suited fermented foods.
His passion is for traditional and modern English style beers and Southstar Brewing is a vehicle for that. It’s more a brand for his cuckoo brewing rather than an actual brewing company. So far there have been two Southstar beers brewed as collaborations with Silverstream’s Kereru Brewing Co, a Strong Rye Brown Ale and a Beervana Festive brew that combined chestnuts, cranberries and currants. Next up is a brew planned with New Plymouth’s Liberty Brewing Co which will be an English hopped IPA brewed in a New World style called Sceptred Warrior. Kieran also still runs a 60L home brewery in the hills of Brooklyn where his partner Sarah puts up with the smell on brew days.
Hi Kieran; great to have you on our desert Island, which 5 beers would you want to have with you if you were stranded here and why?
Galbraith Brewing Company – Galbraith Bob Hudson Bitter – (Auckland, New Zealand – 4.0%)
“My first pint of cask conditioned beer and one that totally changed my taste in beer (and my life? Probably) A perfect combination of fruity English fermentation, zesty Styrian hops, and a rich pale malt backbone. As balanced as a tight rope walker. It’s often described as NZ’s version of Timothy Taylors Landlord , incidentally another beer I love, and that isn’t a million miles from the mark as is my ‘Pixie Caramel” beer. (as in ….. ) This one is only available in cask so line me up some firkins, a cave and stillage, a tap and a cask breather (as I’m alone). No need for a hand-pump; straight from the barrel is wonderful.”
Fuller Smith & Turner PLC – ESB – (Chiswick, London – 5.9%)
“Fullers ESB is the classic strong bitter from one of my absolute favorite breweries and from the part of London where my grandmother was born. Fullers have a very distinctive house/yeast character that I love, marmalade, and warm malt loaf. I often describe Fullers as my Desert Island Brewery (much better than Desert Island beers! A whole brewer’s portfolio to drink and I could help out in the brewhouse to pass the time!) I aspire to brew beers as drinkable and complex as the ones that come from Chiswick. A ploughman’s lunch with a pint or three of ESB and I am set for the afternoon. So that’s a second cask on the stillage, this one will be great straight from the barrel to.”
Brouwerij Rodenbach (Palm) – Rodenbach Grand Cru – (Roeselare, Belgium – 6.0%)
“If the Island is going to be hot I couldn’t go without Rodenbach Grand Cru. Michael Jackson described it as the world’s most refreshing beer and he was right. I often get raised eye brows at the suggestion that it is a refresher but the acidity really works when it’s hot. I remember sitting at a Wellington bar one hot summers evening and sharing three well chilled 750ml bottles with a friend, brilliant. Some bottles in a cool stream will be great please.”
Formerly brewed at O’Hanlon’s – Thomas Hardy’s Ale (lets say 2003) – (Exeter, England – 11.7%)
“I absolutely love this classic barleywine. I had a bottle of 1979 for my 30th birthday and it was amazing. It still had hop character all these years later. Big, rich, complex and with the potential to age gracefully, wonderful. Shameful that the beer has to be brewed in Italy now and that it couldn’t be kept in England. A glass of Hardy’s with some stitchelton and walnuts, perfect. Pop these ones in the cave.”
Townshend Brewery – Foreign Extra Stout – (Nelson, New Zealand – 7.5%)
“Not really a Foreign Extra Stout but a knockout awesome beer. A blend of a Flemish style sour ale and a stout that really tastes like it was brewed in Belgium rather than Upper Moutere …or Dublin. Tart fruit and acidity meets rich complex dark malt flavours and ends up somewhere wonderful. A totally original beer and one that would work well on an Island evening. Martin Townshend does casks of this one but I think I would go for bottles. I would put them in the stream with the Rodenbach.”
And which beer (of those selected) do you regard most highly, and why?
“Galbraith’s Bob Hudson, it’s a pretty special beer to me, so much flavor and so drinkable. When it’s at its peak there isn’t another beer in this country that touches it. My first cask/real ale and one which I still hangout for opportunities to drink. I can drink it all night and then go to sleep and dream about it afterwards !”
“You can also take one meal to go with your beers, what would it be and why? Is it a ‘last supper’ or a perfect pairing for one of the beers?
“My former life as a cheese monger comes out here. It would have to be a ploughman’s with some traditional unpasteurized round cloth matured cheddar, some aged gouda, stitchelton, apple, pickled onions and pickled eggs , crusty bread and some walnut oil.”
You have a CD/MP3/long player but you can only take one album. Choose wisely!
“Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – B-Sides & Rarities – A fantastic artist with incredibly diverse material and this compilation covers the lot. I have seen Mr Cave and the Bad Seeds live and they were amazing. Everything they do blows me away and this compilation covers a lot of it.”
The Beer Book
You might be waiting a long time on your lonesome on the desert island, so we will automatically allow you a few books to keep your mind busy. You can pick between two beer books and two tomes:
• ‘The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food’ by Garrett Oliver, or;
• Beer by Michael Jackson; plus;
• The Bible, or;
• another appropriate religious or philosophical work
“Beer by MJ , definitely the most important beer writer of the modern period. Although when Garrett writes about food and beer he is definitely at his best, when tackling history, not so much.
It certainly wouldn’t be the Bible, perhaps something by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. Sounds strange but his writing and TV shows on self sufficiency and food are a philosophy I aspire to follow. I grow some of the vegetables we eat, cure and smoke our bacon and pastrami and I love cooking.”
The non-beery, non-philosophical book; you can also take a something a little less taxing on the brain, what would that be?
“I’m a murder mystery nut so it would be something by Colin Dexter, Agatha Christie, Caroline Graham or Ngaio Marsh. Preferably lots from all of them.”
The Luxury item
What luxury item would help make your stay on the island bearable?
“As Tandleman said , a bottomless supply of tea and coffee would be crucial. A decent sleeping bag/bed roll would be important too.”
Have you tried Kieran’s favourite beers? Let us know and many thanks to him for taking part and being our castaway for the week.
This article was simultaneously posted at Real Ale Reviews on 17th November 2012 as part of our collaboration on ‘Desert Island Beers’.
Tags: Brouwerij Rodenbach (Palm) - Rodenbach Grand Cru, Desert Island Beers, Fuller Smith & Turner PLC - ESB, Galbraith Brewing Company - Galbraith Bob Hudson Bitter, Kieran Haslett-Moore, O’Hanlon’s - Thomas Hardy’s Ale, Townshend Brewery - Foreign Extra Stout